Why the Basketball Academy was created

  • In the mid-90s a number of basketball tournaments were organized around the athletic talent of Baltimore City Public School (BCPS) students. Many people were disenchanted because tournament promoters were pocketing the funds, leaving the students and the school system with no benefits.
  • The athletes were doing well on the court, but many were not performing well on the SAT exams, not getting scholarships, and not eligible for Division I basketball, due to their academic status.
  • It was time for a change.

Formation of the Basketball Academy

  • In 1995, Bob Wade called upon former Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Walter Amprey and recommended that Baltimore City Schools start a tournament of its own with an academic component that would ultimately make a difference in the lives of these youth.
  • Dr. Amprey gave him the green light and Wade began forming the committee.
  • Dr. Warren Hayman was brought in to head up the academic program.
  • Once the committee was formed, they approached former Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, who fully supported the concept and helped them find financial support to generate seed money.
  • Original supporters were The Baltimore City Department of Recreation and Parks and the 100 Black Men of Maryland, Inc.
  • Due to Mayor Schmoke’s major commitment to this program, the committee decided to name the program in his honor – the Mayor’s Basketball Academy.
  • January 9-11, 1997, the Mayor’s Basketball Academy held its inaugural program.

The Academy over the Years

  • The Academy lost support when the new mayor did not fully embrace the program.
  • In 2000, the Baltimore Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. signed on as a supporter.
  • In 2002, the Department Bureau of Recreation and Parks withdrew as a partner. At that time, the committee decided to change the name to the existing Basketball Academy.
  • The Academy originally brought in out of state teams, which garnered extensive travel and lodging costs. Now, the Academy limits the teams to those in the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area.
  • The Academy is coordinated by Baltimore City Public Schools and still remains under the leadership of Bob Wade, Educational Specialist, Interscholastic Athletics, BCPS.
  • Over the years, the Academy has been sponsored by companies such as State Farm, Under Armour, Mountain Dew, HP, Comcast, 92Q, ABC Channel 2, and M&T Bank to name a few.
  • Sponsors have provided workshops, college scholarships as well as in-kind services.

Results of the Basketball Academy

  • Many of the students that have taken part have learned new skills and gone on to college.
  • Scholar athletes are awarded savings bonds for outstanding academic achievement.
  • More than 11,000 students have participated.
  • Over $136,000 worth of scholarships have been distributed to worthy young people in our area.
  • Has proven to be a successful program, offering students, administrators, parents, and the greater community more than just a game.
  • The Basketball Academy has proven that Academics + Athletics = A Win/Win Combination.

For more information, please contact (443) 519-BALL (2255) or visit our website at www.bballacademy.com